Molecular characterization of kisspeptin receptors and gene expression analysis during oogenesis in the Russian sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii)

Ishwar Atre, Naama Mizrahi, Krist Hausken, Svetlana Yom-Din, Avshalom Hurvitz, Gad Degani, Berta Levavi-Sivan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Sturgeons belong to a subclass of fishes that derived from ray-finned fish ancestors preceding the emergence of teleosts. The Russian sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) is a late-maturing fish with the females reaching puberty under aquaculture conditions at 6–10 years of age. Since kisspeptin has been shown to be a key hormone involved in regulation of major reproductive processes of many vertebrate species, this study was conducted to better understand the kisspeptin receptor (KissR) in sturgeon. In this study we have cloned Russian sturgeon KissR1 from brain mRNA and observed the ontogeny of rsKissR1 mRNA expression in ovarian follicles. Multiple sequence alignment of KissR1, KissR4, and their orthologs revealed that the Russian sturgeon (rs) KissR1 sequence shares 64%–77% identity with elephant shark, coelacanth, and gar and 44–58% identity with tetrapod and teleost KissR1 sequences, while KissR4 seemed to share <65% identity to eel KissR2 and ~57% identity to Perciformes and Cypriniformes. Further rsKissR4 showed <97% identity to reed fish KissR4, <63% with Squamata (Reptiles) and gar KissR4. A phylogenetic analysis revealed that rsKissR1 is more closely related to coelacanth and gar KissR1 than teleost, while rsKissR4 was part of the KissR4 clade and shared higher similarity with Actinopterygiian sequences. We have further predicted homology models for both rsKiss receptors and performed in-silico analyses of their binding to a kiss-10 peptide. Both sturgeon and zebrafish Kiss1 and Kiss2 activated rsKissR1 via both PKC/Ca2+ and PKA/cAMP signal-transduction pathways, while rsKissR2 was found to be less effective and was not activated by stKiss peptides. Ovarian rsKissR transcript levels for 10 fishes were determined by real-time PCR and significantly increased concomitantly with oogenesis, where the highest level of expression was evident in black follicles. These data suggest that extra-neuronal expression of the kisspeptin receptor may be involved in sturgeon reproduction in a manner dependent on reproductive development.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number113691
JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.


  • Docking
  • G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR)
  • Kisspeptin
  • Ontogeny
  • Reproduction
  • Sturgeon


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